Suspect in murder-for-hire plot takes plea deal, divulges new details in 2015 killing
BATON ROUGE - One of four men charged in a 2015 murder-for-hire plot has agreed to divulge details of the killing in exchange for a plea deal.
According to court documents, Daniel Richter has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter in exchange for testifying against his accused co-conspirators. Another man involved in the killing, Tyler Ashpaugh, took a similar deal earlier this year. The third suspected kidnapper, Skyler Williams, is scheduled to go to trial next year.
The men are accused in the death of Tahereh Ghassemi following her divorce from her ex-husband Hamid, who is one of the four charged.
According to an account of the kidnapping given by Richter, the three men had been solicited by Ghassemi to kidnap and kill his estranged wife and another person at her home in April 2015.
Richter allegedly waited outside Tahereh's home while the other two held her at gunpoint and waited for their second target to come to the same home. Richter said he became impatient and ran inside, telling the other two they had to take Tahereh immediately.
A struggle ensued, and Williams allegedly placed Tahereh in a choke hold before the three injected her with drug that rendered her unconscious. The group then placed her in the trunk of her own vehicle and drove both vehicles out to a grave they previously dug in a remote area in St. Helena Parish.
Once they arrived at the predetermined location, Ashpaugh allegedly shot her in the head. However, the three men were apparently unable to find the grave they had dug earlier and ultimately decided to cover her body in the brush.
After the killing, Richter said the three returned to Hamid Ghassemi's business on Airline Highway, Import One, to exchange their vehicle and meet him for payment. They eventually met at Ghassemi's home, where the victim's ex-husband allegedly gave them money to buy gasoline so they could burn Tahereh's car in East Baton Rouge.
Richter said he returned to the grave site the next morning to bury the body.
At the time of his arrest, Hamid was in the middle of a divorce settlement worth more than $1 million.
Court records showed the two married in Iran before Hamid moved to the United States on a student visa. While in the U.S. he remarried an American while remaining married to his wife in Iran. The records showed Hamid tried to challenge the legitimacy of his marriage to Tahereh, but the court sided with her and ordered him to pay her more than a million dollars and give her two pieces of property.
Sentencing for Richter is scheduled for next year.